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Choosing a Guitar 101


Rue
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Rue, I travelled all over Europe and into Morroco with my nylon string Goya in 1971. I was a big hit with my renditions of Jimmie Hendrix and Niel Young (of course I was he only game in town). You can play anything you want on any guitar just get the chops together. Did you know that Kieth Richards got the sound for some of their most outragious leads from overdriving a classical guitar? Nylon strings are easier on the fingers even though the chords are harder to bar and reach.  I do wish that I had gotten an electric sooner because that is definately different to play.  I just sold a pretty Takamine Classical with a laminated top and solid rosewood sides for my Sis. Sounded great, basically a $350 guitar, new.  I've made guitars of all kinds, even a archtop with an cutaway. I once sold an 1889 Martin that you would have loved. Just play, and the guitar thing will sort itself out as you progress. 

BTW, I sang "the Banks of the Ohio" in the lobby at the VSA Convention in Cleveland. Sam Z. was playing some crazy guitar which I couldn't identify. I should have asked what  it was. If you can find an old Mel Bay instruction book chord chart: that's what i used.

 

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If we are talking about gems, there were many Torres-model guitars of a smaller "lady's size" produced in Sevilla manufactures from massive woods around 1900 for export. The one below has a nut width of 45 mm, body roughly 32 cm x 45,5 and a scale of 64 cm Some of the "Ibanez" labelled (the original, not the Jpanese!) are beautiful mop decorated and the sound is always awesome. Unfortunately they almost always need a neck reset (which can be done with heat) and refretting.

IMG_7500.JPG

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I haven't posted here for a while, but, I lurk.  As classical guitar has been my primary instrument since age 13, this thread caught my attention.

Before I could make any recommendations, I'd ask a few questions:

- Do you have practical constraints that dictate when you can play? (Strange practice hours, thin apartment walls, sleeping/studying housemates, office environment, etc.)

- How tall are you? Are your hands unusually large or small for your height?

- Do you envision wanting to fingerpick with your right hand, or using a pick/plectrum exclusively?

- What kind of music originally stirred your interest in guitar?  Is that the style you'd like to focus on?

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20 hours ago, Desert Rat said:

I haven't posted here for a while, but, I lurk.  As classical guitar has been my primary instrument since age 13, this thread caught my attention.

Before I could make any recommendations, I'd ask a few questions:

- Do you have practical constraints that dictate when you can play? (Strange practice hours, thin apartment walls, sleeping/studying housemates, office environment, etc.)

- How tall are you? Are your hands unusually large or small for your height?

- Do you envision wanting to fingerpick with your right hand, or using a pick/plectrum exclusively?

- What kind of music originally stirred your interest in guitar?  Is that the style you'd like to focus on?

 

I'm glad the discussion caught your eye!  It's always difficult to sort through the forest - to find a specific tree - whenever you start on something new! ^_^

I don't think I'm a 'typical' beginner though, but I'll try and answer your questions.  I love questions that I have answers for! 

- Do you have practical constraints that dictate when you can play? (Strange practice hours, thin apartment walls, sleeping/studying housemates, office environment, etc.)

Answer: No.  I live in a house, on an acerage.  The guitar is much quieter than my bassoon, and the chicken hasn't complained about that yet.

- How tall are you? Are your hands unusually large or small for your height?

Answer: I am 5'6".  I have large hands.  Sadly, though, they are both somewhat inflexible (genetics) and stiff (medical issue).

- Do you envision wanting to fingerpick with your right hand, or using a pick/plectrum exclusively?

Answer: Yes!

- What kind of music originally stirred your interest in guitar?  Is that the style you'd like to focus on?

Answer: When I was 5 or 6 years old, I was watching the Ed Sullivan Show, and that particular episode featured a beautiful guitar player, with long, dark hair, playing some folk song.  I wanted to be her when I grew up.  Sadly, I can't sing (not to mention a host of other impediments to that career path).  However, strumming/picking along to folk tunes/ballads is still one of my favourite guitar styles.  

 

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23 hours ago, MeyerFittings said:

Rue, I travelled all over Europe and into Morroco with my nylon string Goya in 1971. I was a big hit with my renditions of Jimmie Hendrix and Niel Young (of course I was he only game in town). You can play anything you want on any guitar just get the chops together. Did you know that Kieth Richards got the sound for some of their most outragious leads from overdriving a classical guitar? Nylon strings are easier on the fingers even though the chords are harder to bar and reach.  I do wish that I had gotten an electric sooner because that is definately different to play.  I just sold a pretty Takamine Classical with a laminated top and solid rosewood sides for my Sis. Sounded great, basically a $350 guitar, new.  I've made guitars of all kinds, even a archtop with an cutaway. I once sold an 1889 Martin that you would have loved. Just play, and the guitar thing will sort itself out as you progress. 

BTW, I sang "the Banks of the Ohio" in the lobby at the VSA Convention in Cleveland. Sam Z. was playing some crazy guitar which I couldn't identify. I should have asked what  it was. If you can find an old Mel Bay instruction book chord chart: that's what i used.

 

Now that sounds like a wonderful adventure! :wub:

So does singing with Sam Z in Cleveland! :D

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21 hours ago, Blank face said:

If we are talking about gems, there were many Torres-model guitars of a smaller "lady's size" produced in Sevilla manufactures from massive woods around 1900 for export. The one below has a nut width of 45 mm, body roughly 32 cm x 45,5 and a scale of 64 cm Some of the "Ibanez" labelled (the original, not the Jpanese!) are beautiful mop decorated and the sound is always awesome. Unfortunately they almost always need a neck reset (which can be done with heat) and refretting.

IMG_7500.JPG

Guitars in general, are very beautiful.  

I just learned about truss rods!  My old mandolin didn't have them.  Fixing the neck required replaning of the fingerboard, but I'm not sure how that's done - given the frets.  I will need to ask.  There wasn't time when I picked it up.

The new mandolin has a truss rod.

My classical guitar does not have a truss rod.  The specs for the crossover indicate that it has a dual action truss rod.

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6 hours ago, Rue said:

  Fixing the neck required replaning of the fingerboard, but I'm not sure how that's done - given the frets.  I will need to ask.  There wasn't time when I picked it up.

The new mandolin has a truss rod.

My classical guitar does not have a truss rod.  The specs for the crossover indicate that it has a dual action truss rod.

Frets are removed before planing the fingerboard, and new attached after.

Classical guitars usually don't have a metal truss rod (too heavy), some have a laminated neck to prevent bending, and some modern makers install a carbon rod. Possibly this can be done to an existing guitar, too, but would be economical only for valuable instruments.

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Thanks! I wondered about removing the frets - and then figured it might not be doable. But removing the fingerboard didn't seem like an answer either.

So if traditional classical guitars don't have truss rods - why would a crossover? It's still mainly a classical guitar and not hugely smaller...

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Well - after considerable debate, research,  endless waffling, talking with all you wonderful MNers, talking with our resident guitar teacher (30 years experience in all genres!) and with my bassoon/guitar teacher (yes, she teaches both) - while driving hubby to the brink of madness - I went and got a cross-over... 

I listened to a very handsome young man play classical on it for quite a while, and it sounded awesome, so I know what I can aspire to! :P

I mucked about with it for about an hour last night after we got home...and OMG, the narrower neck with the radiused fingerboard makes a huge difference.  I thought it might, but it was more pronounced than I had anticipated.  I was able to pluck out Go Tell Aunt Rhody with relative ease and could almost strum Mellow Yellow with a semblence of strumming. :wub: Who knew?

That happily concludes this Chapter of "How many instruments can one justify cramming into the music room?"...^_^

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On 12/23/2018 at 11:50 AM, Brad H said:

Once a thread goes past two pages, pictures are required.....no, not of you  in drag....the guitar :D

On second thought....bonus points for the guitar AND the drag pic!

Well okay...just this once...then I gotta go make dinner for the mini-hoard...^_^

Here's a quick shot of the new guitar...

And one of me in drag...

20181224_155558.jpg

20181224_155838.jpg

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